2008-02-06

How do you ...?

Alright, you all want a story. Well, I'll start with this one.

I was still in the training stages at the RCMP office, learning the ropes and trying to figure out the archaic telephone switchboard that they had (a step above cord & plug). I had already had a few odd calls that had nothing what-so-ever to do with police work which I had found very strange. Why are you calling the police for this? But, I would shake my head and then direct them to where they needed to call. For example: Your power is out? Call the power company at 555-1234. (I can see where they would mistake power for police, can't you?)

So, one evening, I was doing the bulk of the work, my trainer was feeling pretty good about just being there if I needed her, when I get the strangest call. One of the rural areas that our detachment covered was south of the river and was home for a lot of Indians - pardon me, First Nations People. (Back then they were still Indians) A resident of that area called as was his habit on a Friday night, except that this time, instead of his usual drunken ranting, he sounded reasonably sober. So, I asked him what I could help him with, after all, he hadn't sworn at me yet, so far all he'd said is hello.

He was quite for a minute, then said, "Well, I want to know..." I made that non-committal umhum sound that you make to keep people talking, "I have a steak!" Okay, good for you. What can the police do for you tonight? (all the while thinking, whoopee you have a steak - so go eat it!) "Can you cook it?" UM, no, I am at work and it is not a police job to cook your steak. "Can you tell me how to cook it?"

I put him on hold and I turned helplessly to my trainer (who is by this time laughing her ass off in the corner) and asked her what to do with this guy. We even checked the office to see if it was one of the boys playing tricks. How do you get to be 80 some years old and never learn to cook? Anyway, I get back on the line with him and with the trainer talking to me between her fits of laughter, we managed to tell him to fry it in a pan on the stove with some butter and that he had to cut it open after a few minutes to see how well cooked it was.

Now, I am not sure if the trainer was laughing harder at the old geezer, or at me for not knowing how to cook a steak either. Of all the people to ask how to cook a steak, he had to get me! Of course, I was 18 and was still living at home.

So, what strange phone calls have you made to the wrong authorities?

I once dialed the fire hall's alarm number by mistake. The last digit was the only difference between it and our home number and I was using a touch tone payphone and the 3rd number stuck so I got 2100 instead of 210? I was mortified! Yes, this was when touch tone phones were just new too, I am that old that I know what dial phones were like.


Good Morning all. Hope it was sort of funny.

15 comments:

the Bag Lady said...

Poor ol' Indian - wonder how his steak turned out...

Tink said...

I think you're on to something here. They need a food emergency number. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten how long to boil my egg and really needed some assistance. ;)

Crabby McSlacker said...

I've heard it's a real problem with overburdened emergency lines--people calling up for stupid stuff so that people who really need help can't get through.

I can understand accidentally dialing an emergency number, but the folks who do it on purpose because they just naturally think THEIR problems are more important than anyone else's--those people really annoy me.

Though that was indeed a funny one!

Leah J.Utas said...

Good one. But you know, the poor guy probably didn't have anyone else.
Nothing comes to mind right now about a misdialling although I know I've done it.
At the Mountaineer we were always getting calls from irate customers wanting to know why their Calgary Herald hadn't arrived.

Geosomin said...

We have to dial 9 first here to phone out, and everytime we have to fax englannd (country code 11) we almost surely dial 911...I doubt they'll actually come to our building when we really need them...

Reb said...

Well Sis, he didn't call and complain about it!

Tink, you are so right, I think in most cases though it is MOM-HELP. Of course when that line gets disconnected, i guess you are out of luck.

Crabby, this was before 911 was even available here. That was the funniest, but by no means the most irritating.

Leah, you are right, I am sure when his drinking buddies found out he had food not booze...oops!

Geosomin, so, if you really need them you have to dial 9-911. Yeah, like in an emergency I can remember that!

Jo said...

That was cute...did you stay on the line the whole time he was cooking it?

When I was 5, I called the Police to come watch cartoons with me. I got the idea b/c we lived next door to a firestation & the firemen would sometimes throw the frisbee with me...I wanted a change of pace LOL

Reb said...

No Jo, although I am sure he would have liked me to. That's cute, I am sure the police were honoured that you wanted them to watch TV with them.

Reb said...

with you - too early!

Mamacita Chilena said...

oh no, poor guy! there really should be an emergency food hotline. It sort of reminds me of the commercial for some new show that shows these guys on a road trip singing C'mon Eileen...and then they call the Triple A agency with a "roadside emergency" asking what the rest of the lyrics are :)

Reb said...

I don't think I've seen that one, but I can well imagine it happening!

Laura (Kramarsky) Curtis said...

I've never made the call, but I do seem to attract them. Probably my favorite was the woman who called while I was working in a photography studio. We'd taken pictures at a graduation for Doctors' Assistants. The way we worked graduations was that we would send out yellow cards with the picture of the individual student accepting her diploma. The picture would be cut out of a contact sheet, and on the yellow card was the information about "if you want to order a 5x7 of this print, please send..."

So this woman calls, and she wants to know how big a 5 x 7 is. I explain that it's 5 inches by 7 inches. She asks how big THAT is. I tell her it's bigger than a 3x5, but smaller than an 8x10. She says "oh, it's SMALLER than an 8x10?"

Of course, that very same day another student called who'd walked up the wrong side of the auditorium, so we got the back of her head as she accepted the diploma. She wanted to know whether if she ordered the 5x7 we could turn over the negative so she could see her face.

Reb said...

Laura, it is amazing isn't it how some people can be so thick? That was funny.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Reb,

Great story. I worked for New York City for more than twenty five years, so I definitely know what you are talking about!

Keep 'em coming!

Terrie

Reb said...

Terrie, you probably have much better stories! I will try though.